This Week's Fashion News and Advice:

Rings For Special Occasions

Society, by default, assumes that rings are automatically purchased in lieu of weddings or engagements. Even if just to say how much you care, there are literally thousands of reasons why you should give the gift of diamond rings. To help inspire you, here are several common occasions where rings are an appropriate purchase.

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Renewing vows

Once couples have hit milestone anniversaries, they’ll entertain renewing their vows which basically reaffirms the same love they promised each other ‘x’ amount of years ago. This would also be an opportune time to give each other new wedding bands to symbolize the reaffirmation of these vows (not to mention your rings are probably pretty worn after 25 years). Platinum would be perfect around the 25 year mark, while gold would probably suffice at your 10 or 15 year affirmation. Anniversaries coincide with renewing vows as you’ll more than likely have your nuptials read at your anniversary party.

Birthdays, of course!

Instead of throwing outlandish parties for someone’s 30th, 40th, or 50th birthday party, why not take them out to eat and offer them a beautifully created diamond ring? Gifts of this magnitude should gradually get better in terms of quality as one ages; a beautifully hand crafted platinum setting for an S1 clarity of diamond would be perfect at the half-century mark of one’s life. Chocolate or strawberry gold would be perfect for a young girl’s 18th birthday party as it symbolizes both a daring and conservative appearance often showcased in our current era.

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Child birthing (the ‘Push’ present)

After going through long, excruciating hours of labor pains then finally delivering a beautiful miracle, what better way to congratulate the newly proud mother than by giving her an exquisite piece of diamond jewelry! Provided she picked the name out prior to giving birth, you could actually purchase the ring with both the mother and child’s name inscribed on the inside of the ring. There is honestly no other more immaculate occasion to give someone a beautiful gift than after the woman brings new life into existence. You can learn more about sizing rings appropriate to her finger size by downloading various ring sizing guides found online today.

‘Just because’

Yet another popular category for purchasing rings casts a wider net even still. Honestly, you really don’t need an excuse to hop down to the jewelry store to purchase a beautiful diamond ring. Giving random gifts to the person who loves you proves how much the love is reciprocated. You could take your loved one to a picnic and surprise them with a diamond ring, leaving rings inside wineglasses then pour your dinner wine, or come up with another creative way to present a diamond ring to this truly remarkable person.

Whether for anniversaries, graduations, birthdays or giving credit where credits due to a new mother, every special occasion is the perfect time to give the gift of precious jewelry. Bonus points to the person that creates their own special occasion and makes the moment the most memorable one yet.

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Tips on Maintaining Your Dress Shirts

Although a young man’s mother tries her best to train her son to be self-sufficient, not everything tends to stick. When it comes to taking care of dress shirts, most men neither have the capacity nor tools to properly care for their garments, which means they often throw their things away and buy brand-new.

If you would prefer to learn some timely tips to extend the life of your shirts, pay attention as we expose highly classified woman tactics often used to keep your shirts looking brand spanking new for decades.
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Follow tag instructions

Because men believe they’re equipped with ‘automatic knowledge’ of everything, the most obvious first tip would be to follow the designer’s garment care instructions clearly printed on the tag. Cotton, tweed and polyester will probably have different machine washing instructions which include proper water temperature and dryer settings.  Because some men’s dress shirts can get really expensive, it’s best to follow the tag’s instructions instead of throwing your expensive designer dress shirt in with socks and underwear on high heat or hot water.

No heat then hang up

Most dress shirts, after they’ve come out of the washer, can be dried on ‘No Heat’ setting then immediately hung up to maintain their current size. By allowing room temperature to dry your clothes, you will not only avoid attracting excessive lint but help keep your shirt from shrinking. Note that you could also use the permanent press setting if you cannot wait several hours for your shirt; just make sure you’re comfortable losing a few millimeters of size as exposing your shirt to even the slightest heat will cause this effect.

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Iron like a maiden

Your dress shirts will clearly outline what the fabric setting should be before you preheat your iron. You’ll usually want to make sure enough water is inside your iron because you may want to steam your collar to maintain a sharp, edgy look.  If you’re unsure what proper settings are, revert back to your iron’s manufacturing settings or quickly Google “how to iron a shirt” for best results. Never guess any fabric’s heat setting because you’ll either iron ineffectively or totally torch your expensive dress garment. As a last ditch effort, keep your mother, sister or girlfriend on speed dial.

Food for thought

Whether you’re on a low budget or can afford Armani shirts every week, you’ll eventually have to learn appropriate dress shirt care because, at some point, you’ll have no choice but to either learn proper clothing care, or risk going bankrupt buying new dress shirts too frequently. Don’t you have better things to spend your paycheck on every week?

Although we may seldom admit it, as men, we all want to look at our best. In previous years, many men may not have been as attentive to their appearance, but times have changed. Whereas in the past, male clothing care products on supermarket shelves may have included Woolite, stain fighters and that was about it; now you’ll find an array of different products to help you care for your dress shirts correctly. So use them, and be a manly man.

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Celebrity Street Fashion for July 2014

Summer is here and people are out and about for special events, traveling, or just to enjoy the great weather. It’s also the perfect time for celebrity spotting.

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One guy who was spotted out for some exercise in Paris, during a film shoot was actor Simon Baker of the television show The Mentalist. Being the stylish Australian man that he is, you would expect nothing less than having him ride through the streets in a timeless, white button-down shirt, a pair of black casual trousers, and summery black leather slip-on sneaker/shoes. Simon’s style of shoes can be purchased at www.net-a-port.com as the Common Projects Leather Slip-on Sneakers for $455 or for a lower price tag, as the Vans Classic Slip-ons in perforated leather for $60 at Zappos.

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The next celebrity spotting was Will Ferrell and his family, as he traveled through an airport. Will really managed to disguise himself as the Average Joe in his printed grey t-shirt, baby blue pedal pusher length shorts, and canvas slip-on shoes. My eyes are drawn immediately to the black socks and I wonder how his wife let him get away with that one. No style award for you today Will!

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One young singer that always tries to maintain her cute-level is Taylor Swift. She is photographed here in a vintage-looking, cropped-length peach and white gingham check top with a high-waisted light green shirt. Taylor’s outfit is totally tied together with her peach and tan leather sandals and of course, her matching beige leather purse. Taylor perfectly captures the young lady-like look.

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The last celebrity sighting of the week to discuss is super model Heidi Klum strolling the shops with one of her little ones. Heidi has a 70’s vibe going with her floppy beige sun hat, white embroidered tank top, patch pocket boot-cut jeans, and square heel tan leather sandals. Heidi’s brown leather, saddle-style bag and gold-rimmed Aviator sunglasses are the perfect accessories. A similar vintage- style bag can be found by the designer Patricia Nash at www.countryoutfitter.com, currently for $127.95. It has the rich brown leather and is called the Women’s Barcellona Saddle Bag in tan.

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Glossy vs Matte Nail Polish

Nail art is all the rage these days which means if you’ve attempted to embellish your digits you probably snapped a pic or two. Nail “selfies” are all over Facebook and Instagram, as everyones excited to show of their handywork. Recently, however, many of my friends – as well as some fashion news and trends 2014 websites have been talking about matte polish.

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If you follow the runway shows, you’d know matte nail polish isn’t new and has been very popular for the past few seasons. However, not everyone is ready to give up their glossy finish for a lackluster mani. So where do you fall on the great shine debate?

Either finish can look great but to really have a little fun try both at the same time. At Zang Toi’s runway show during last year’s New York Fashion Week, the nail artists at Zoya (yes they really are artists) painted the models nails black and used a matte finish top coat to draw a thick matte lines across the nail. This added some easy texture. Make it your own and add polk a dots, zig zags or matte tips for a little fun on your finger tips (subtle enough for the office!)

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Diamond Shopping for Newbies

It’s not entirely uncommon for folks shopping for diamond keepsakes for their soon to be significant others to not fully understand how many options really exist. From Princess cut masterpieces, to baguettes and even medieval style jewelry, the opportunities are limited only by one’s imagination. To help newcomers to the diamond shopping niche, we offer these suggestions to help ease the burden of all the choices that would be thrown in front of you.

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Dig deep into diamond history

Weddings, special occasions, Mother’s Day or just to say I love you are common reasons that many women and men enter the diamond marketplace. However, you should only purchase precious gemstones when the mood suits you best regardless of season; falling victim to overbearing advertising pitches does little for educating consumers like yourself on properly selecting the world’s finest diamonds. Also, never should one base their diamond purchases off anyone else’s memorable experience since each gemstone selection is unique to the person receiving the gift.

It will help you to study how diamonds are processed, although it’s more important to retain in-depth information about the various cuts available so you’re not shopping blind. Though many diamonds are mined in Africa, some are mined as close as Arkansas, for example. Chocolate diamonds, which are commonly found in the Levian collections, are actually regular diamonds without the excessive processing and are said to be perfect for those wanting a cloudy appeal to emanate from their gemstone. Additional factoids such as these can be found anywhere online, so don’t be afraid to take notes before visiting your jeweler.

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Control the purchase

Jewelry salespeople are specifically trained to increase the final sales amount regardless how much your budget actually is. For example, if you’re only working with $2000, expect that dollar amount to go towards a down payment as opposed to being the actual amount you spend on diamond rings. As you probably notice around Christmas, financing is what entices buyers with smaller budgets yet with good credit to purchase larger carats of diamonds – and sales staff capitalize on this weakness. One might say decisions to spend frugally change when the salesperson says your credit application was approved; we tend to call this ‘financial entrapment’.

From the moment you walk into the jewelry store, you must control the purchase. Take charge of your budget, know exactly what you can spend before finalizing the sale and make those intentions known. The more adamant you are about stating your needs beforehand, the less likely salespeople will pressure you into making purchases you actually can’t afford. Look for sales flyers and exploit those deals within the first thirty seconds of conversation; also, take your own ideas and match them with the personality of the loved one receiving your gemstone surprise.

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Be an expert, even if you’re new

Along with the above information, learn the various shapes, levels of clarity and specific grades that diamonds are sold in. Most higher-end diamonds will come with a certificate of authenticity which is certified by gemologists and is even hand-numbered. After studying the diamond market long enough, you’ll have enough wisdom to discern cubic zirconias from true diamonds without blinking.

With a wealth of information available online today, there’s little excuse for anyone shopping for diamonds to not have knowledge of how diamonds are cut, what settings are available and the expected cost for various levels of clarity. Giving the gift of diamonds doesn’t have to cost millions of dollars, and arming yourself with knowledge is sensible for your shopping experience.

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How to dress the tall man

The primary goal one should have in mind when dressing the bigger, taller more proud man is highlighting the features which make him who he is.  Emphasizing the arms, legs and facial features isn’t that difficult if you’re experienced with your boyfriend or husband.  For those with neither, we offer these thoughts when dressing taller men in your lives.

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What ‘suits’ them best?

Professional men shopping for big and tall men’s clothing should always choose checkered suits since they’re perfect for accentuating the height and broadness of the taller one.  Lighter shades tend to do taller men more justice than greys or blacks, while the shorter yet rounder man should concentrate on the opposite effect.

Anynon-matching suit in twill or tweed works perfectly when attempting to cut the vertical lines of the taller man’s silhouette, which is a plausible statement if you’ve ever seen NBA players make public appearances.  When choosing neckties, the general consensus will tell you to choose longer neckties if you’re over 6’3” tall, although what look is actually more your ‘thing’ takes practice and second opinions.

Boot cut works with everyone

Honestly, big and tall or short and round men cannot fail with boot cut jeans because they offer that sexy look without constricting those ‘sensitive’ areas.  Yes, with the perfect dress shirt and some Levi’s or Carhartt boot cut jeans, dressing well as a tall man or a shorter one, has never been easier with the options available today. Just make sure that you’re not dragging the ground or ‘wading’, as they say, because that throws your outward appearance into total discord.

For thinner individuals, make sure you concentrate on adding contour around the bottom as this will create the presence of just enough weight without making your rear feel uncomfortable.  Relaxed fit jeans with tennis shoes isn’t a totally bad look, although you’d be better off going for something that truly defines your features – like a slim fit perhaps.

Contrary to popular belief, you aren’t required by fashion police mandates to wear boots with boot cut jeans, although the shorter men may find that boots make their frames taller and could add leg contouring, too.  Always try to wear loafers with shorts during summer months and with khakis when possible.

Is dressing taller men too challenging?

Although some dressing tips may be too challenging to do without help, there are plenty that can be done with what you have in your home and with just a few spare minutes a day.  For one, are your pants just a little too short? You can turn them into shorts and save on buying extra clothes.  Not sure which shirts would go with certain jeans or khakis? Simply try several color combinations to get a general feel for what you’ll potentially look like.

There are many wardrobe tips for tall guys around the internet, so simply read and try them at home before going to purchase clothes alone. Additionally, you may entertain dragging your girlfriend, best female friend or mom into the mix and get feminine opinions.

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Medieval Style Rings Are Popular – Again?

So you’re finally engaged, and all that there is left to do now is organize the wedding. However, if your man is like most men, then don’t be surprised if your husband-to-be has plenty of wedding ring ideas to contribute, but not a lot of the action. If this sounds like your man, and you both share an affinity for medieval lore, we’ve got some ideas to share with him.  Oh, and you too.

These rings, much like every other trend from years past, is rising again in popularity.  Be forewarned, ye men with chivalrous intent: not all ring makers are created equally, and the power of social suggestion can help drastically reduce errors in shopping for these ring makers.

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It starts with custom ring makers!

Medieval style rings, when designed properly and fitted comfortably, are as exquisite and amazingly widespread today as they were centuries ago; if you recall, just before gold and gemstones exploded into mainstream shopper’s eyes, hand-crafted jewelry was typically styled in older gothic or plain bands. Today’s foray of custom rings come from custom ring makers that can emulate virtually any Arthurian style or gothic caricature you choose.  Just choose wisely, my male friends, because this ring will become the centerpiece of your (hopefully) everlasting marriage.

With so many options when it comes to purchasing that elusive wedding ring, it is not only important to do your research about potential jewelry makers, but also research the options with respect to the various medieval overtones you wish to maintain throughout your marriage – and on her finger.

The process

Overall, customized jewelry shows more character than your quintessential department store showpieces. Medieval buffs, as a whole, also appreciate having a wedding look that accentuates their attitude, beliefs and can be worn comfortably without taking it off.  Note that many are making platinum custom medieval rings due to their tougher, scratch resistant surface.

Medieval style rings undergo an interesting process to get created properly. First, the procedure commences by arranging a consultation between you and an expert ring design specialist. Next, they’ll normally create a hand-carved impression of the ring style you want out of waxy substances, then take that impression and forge the creation you are expecting.

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Buying medieval style rings that suit your style

While it is no small feat, knowing what you’re likely to face when shopping for that special engagement or wedding ring set will help you cope with the challenges ahead and help you enjoy the full rewards that come from shopping for custom rings.

Leverage the power of Google, social suggestion and subtle hints from your significant other when shopping for that special custom design ring ensemble for your wife-to-be.  Finally, don’t believe everything you see regarding ring shopping from people on television; all the people you see having fun flashing their jewelry are doing so because the person behind the camera directing everything is a professional – and not necessarily the ring maker. Take the opportunity to make this creation yours, after all it’s meant to last forever.

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